Episode Summary

Bacteria strengthen concrete while helping to prevent damage from road salts!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Azospirillum brasilense

News discussed

Using bacteria to protect roads from deicer deterioration

Jesse's takeaways

Winter is a bad time for concrete outside. Water seeps into cracks and freezes, causing bigger cracks that widen into potholes. Even the road salts used to keep water from freezing can react with compounds in the cement to break down the structure of the concrete.

This study looks to bacteria for a solution for protecting concrete from these reactions. Sporosarcina pasteurii, given the right nutrients, can take the harmful salt compounds and turn them into minerals that strengthen the concrete instead of weakening it.

Journal Paper

Ksara M, Newkirk R, Langroodi SK, Althoey F, Sales CM, Schauer CL, Farnam Y. 2019. Microbial damage mitigation strategy in cementitious materials exposed to calcium chloride. Construction and Building Materials 195:1–9.

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